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Pests and disease

Potato parasite’s 'toolkit’ revealed (News)

Parasitic nematode worms are the 'hidden enemy’ of farmers worldwide, causing billions of pounds worth of crop damage every year. Now an international research collaboration led by the University of Dundee and the Jame ... Read more

£2m pledged to safeguard Britain’s trees (News)

Two new projects featuring James Hutton Institute scientists in Aberdeen and Dundee have received a share of £2m for research to help combat threats to trees and plants, as part of the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initi ... Read more

Professor Paul Birch elected RSE Fellow (News)

Leading plant pathologist Professor Paul Birch of the James Hutton Institute and University of Dundee has received the honour of being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) has ... Read more

Dundee-China collaboration discovers potential ‘Achilles heel’ of potato blight (News)

Scientists working in Scotland and China have uncovered a potential Achilles’ heel in the organism which causes potato blight, a global problem with associated costs estimated at US$6billion around the world every year. Bl ... Read more

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SSCR and Bulrush Soft Fruit Information Day and Winter Meeting 18 February 2016 (Event)

The Scottish Society for Crop Research (SSCR) and Bulrush Horticulture Ltd are holding a joint Soft Fruit Information Day and  Winter Meeting at the Inchture Hotel in Perthshire. The day is free and open to anyone in the soft ... Read more

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Genomics, Gene Discovery and Genome Editing in Crops (Event)

Diverse climatic and geographical zones in Peru are home to a great variety of crops (e.g., potatoes, quinoa, asparagus, and coffee). Recent advances in genomics and biotechnology offer great potential to address biotic and abioti ... Read more

Researchers make technological breakthrough against potato cyst nematode (News)

Potato cyst nematodes (PCN) are a significant threat to the UK fresh and processing potato markets, with an annual estimated cost of £50 million to the potato industry. A new study by UK scientists has brought us one step cl ... Read more

Research Facilities (Research Page)

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Research uncovers patterns of pest infestation in yard-long beans (News)

Protein dense yard-long beans offer an affordable source of vitamins, particularly in South Asia where the crops thrive. However, the bean pod borer, Maruca vitrata, threatens the production of these vitamin-rich legumes, with pot ... Read more

AfricaYam: breeding resilience and productivity into a key African crop (News)

Scientists from the James Hutton Institute are joining forces with colleagues from African research organisations in a drive to enhance the productivity of yam, a staple crop in Western Africa. ... Read more

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European Association for Potato Research (EAPR) Pathology and Pests Section Meeting (Event)

The next meeting of the European Association for Potato Research (EAPR), Pathology and Pests Section, will be held in Dundee, Scotland, UK, 7th to 11th August 2016. This meeting covers research into potato pests a ... Read more

Where in the UK are New Zealand flatworms and what are they up to? (News)

Members of the public are being asked to help researchers pinpoint just how far a species that wound up in the UK unintentionally has travelled across the country. The New Zealand Flatworm arrived on British soil over half a cen ... Read more

Spotted a weevil in your garden? Let us know (News)

Do you have ornamental or soft fruit plants that are wilting or dying for no obvious reason? Have you noticed notching on the plant leaves, or grubs feeding on the roots? If so, your plants might be suffering from vine weevil dama ... Read more

European potato blight map updated with 2014 data (News)

An international consortium including the James Hutton Institute which tracks the European spatial distribution of Phytophthora infestans, the plant pathogen responsible for potato late blight, has updated the distribution of the ... Read more

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Microbial interactions in the wheat rhizosphere (Event)

Hosted by Dr Vivian Blok from our Cell and Molecular Sciences group, this seminar by Dr Timothy Mauchline (Rothamsted Research) will discuss microbial interactions in the wheat rhizosphere, specifically looking into the influence ... Read more

Books and Book Chapters (Research Page)

Water Ecosystem Services - A Global Perspective ... Read more

Reports (Research Page)

The reports described on this page are either hosted on external websites, or are available for direct download (files are in pdf format). ... Read more

Policy and Research Briefs (Research Page)

The briefs described on this page are either hosted on the knowledgescotland website, or are available for direct download (pdf format). ... Read more

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SSCR Soft Fruit Winter Meeting 2015 (Event)

The Scottish Society for Crop Research (SSCR) and HDC are holding a joint Information Day and Soft Fruit Winter Meeting at the James Hutton Institute, Dundee. The day is free and open to anyone in the soft fruit industry and other ... Read more

Ecogenomics at the James Hutton Institute (Research Page)

What is Ecogenomics? ... Read more

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Potatoes in Practice 2015 (Event)

Potatoes in Practice is the largest field-based potato event in the UK. The event brings together variety trials, research and trade exhibits in one place making it an essential date in the potato industry calendar. ... Read more

Slovenian researchers visit to discuss CropSustaIn progress (News)

Researchers from the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia (AIS) visited the James Hutton Institute as part of the CropSustaIn project, which looks into alternatives for sustainable crop production in Slovenia in the face of global c ... Read more

Potato variety Mayan Gold successfully released in Kenya (News)

Researchers from the James Hutton Institute and Kenyan institutions have successfully introduced popular UK potato cultivar Mayan Gold in Kenya, in an effort to boost food security and strengthen potato production systems in the E ... Read more

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CoZEE Zoonoses Network Autumn Conference:The role of high-throughput sequencing in surveillance, diagnostics and tracking zoonotic bacteria (Event)

CoZEE is a co-operative network that aims to be inclusive of all those interested in zoonoses. They will be hosting this workshop held at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee. This will be an interactive, engaging, and proactive ... Read more

Plant pest and pathogen collections (Research Page)

The James Hutton Institute has generated nationally important reference collections of plant pests and pathogens that are maintained with the support of the Scottish Government. The majority of the collection has been genetically ... Read more

Novel ways of tackling pests on show at Potatoes in Practice (News)

Potato growers and industry representatives will be able to learn about novel research being conducted at the James Hutton Institute and how it contributes to Integrated Pest Management at Potatoes in Practice on 7 August 2014. ... Read more

Developments on arable crops showcased at Cereals in Practice (News)

How to protect cereal crops from the increased disease pressure caused by the mild winter and spring and early drilling was a key point of interest at this year’s Cereals in Practice event, co-hosted by the James Hutton Inst ... Read more

Science excellence at James Hutton Institute highlighted (News)

Two researchers based at the James Hutton Institute have been recognised for their contribution to plant science. Professor Philip J. White has been listed by Thomson Reuters as one of 176 Highly Cited Researchers in Plant and Ani ... Read more

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Honeybee mites: using lethal RNAi gene knockdown to control pests (Event)

Dr Ewan Campbell of the University of Aberdeen will give a seminar at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee entitled "Honeybee mites: using lethal RNAi gene knockdown to control pests" or "Honeybee health: a mitey pr ... Read more

Raspberry IPM system featured in global hub (News)

James Hutton Institute senior research entomologist, Professor Nick Birch, has been nominated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to present his Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme for raspb ... Read more

Young scientist wins prestigious research accolade (News)

A young scientist whose research focusses on pathogens in the environment has been awarded the prestigious Peter Massalski Prize for meritorious research. Dr Fiona Brennan, research scientist with the Ecological Sciences group at ... Read more

Research underway to unravel causes of blackleg (News)

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute and partner organisations are working to understand how seed potato becomes infected with Pectobacterium atrosepticum, the pathogen that causes blackleg; a disease that has been one of the ... Read more

Soft fruit growers ‘must remain vigilant’ about SWD (News)

Even if Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD, Drosophila suzukii) has not been detected north of the border yet, Scottish soft fruit growers must not be complacent and should remain on the lookout for the pest during the 2014 season. Scie ... Read more

New Zealand flatworm (Research Page)

... Read more

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SSCR Soft Fruit Winter Meeting (Event)

The Scottish Society for Crop Research (SSCR) and Bulrush Horticulture Limited are holding a joint Information Day and Soft Fruit Winter Meeting at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Dundee. The day is free and open to anyone in the ... Read more

Bacterial endosymbionts and beneficial insects (Research Page)

A promising area for managing insect pests is through improved understanding of the importance of microbes associated with insects. Many insect species rely on symbiotic bacteria for their survival and these ‘hidden players& ... Read more

Exploiting plant traits to improve pest biocontrol (Research Page)

Exploiting genetic variation in the ability of plants to resist or tolerate attack by pests and pathogens has long been a focus of crop breeding programmes, although the genetic basis for plant resistance is often poorly-understoo ... Read more

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Resistance genes within the same TIR-NBS-LRR locus from a wild North American grapevine species confer resistance to powdery mildew and downy mildew in cultivated grapevine (Event)

Dr Angela Feechan, University College Dublin, will give a seminar on "Resistance genes within the same TIR-NBS-LRR locus from a wild North American grapevine species confer resistance to powdery mildew and downy mildew in cul ... Read more

Principal Investigators involved in IPM (Research Page)

Principal Investigators working on IPM at the James Hutton Institute. ... Read more

IPM research platforms and networks (Research Page)

Centre for Sustainable Cropping ... Read more

IPM-related research grants (Research Page)

Several funded projects at the James Hutton Institute are either specifically about IPM or the toolbox components. ... Read more

Integrated pest management (Research Page)

At the James Hutton Institute we carry out research in several areas to create a toolbox of flexible solutions, that when deployed together, are more effective, that is, components of sustainable integrated pest management (IPM), ... Read more

IPM in the agroecosystem (Research Page)

IPM is also about managing the other species in agroecosystem and not just the crop and visible weeds, pathogens, pests and their symptoms. It should also include management of: ... Read more

What is IPM? (Research Page)

... Read more

Epidemiology and population biology (Research Page)

Our main objectives are to examine the factors that drive change in pathogen populations and the impact of change on the epidemiology and sustainability of disease management. Phytophthora infestans The James Hutton Institute ... Read more

ImTech Techniques (Research Page)

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ImTech Resources (Research Page)

Imaging Technologies (ImTech) is extremely well resourced for a wide variety of imaging methods ranging from standard histology through confocal microscopy to electron microscopy. Information on the equipment available in our labo ... Read more

Imaging Technologies (Research Page)

The Imaging Technologies (ImTech) Group based at the Dundee site, within the Cell and Molecular Sciences group, is involved in a wide variety of research across the James Hutton Institute, sitting within t ... Read more

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Crop Research Conference: knowing your enemy - the future of crop protection (Event)

Leading scientists and industry experts will be joining forces at AHDB’s Crop Research Conference to discuss how a better scientific understanding of pests, weeds and diseases can lead to practical crop protection tools for ... Read more

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Moving forward from ash dieback (Event)

As part of the RGBE event "Moving forward from ash dieback" the James Hutton Institute's Virtual Landscape Theatre will enable visitors to explore a virtual ash woodland to explore the effects ash dieback could have ... Read more

Consultation responses (Page)

The James Hutton Institute often submits formal responses to consultations being conducted by the European Union, UK Government, Scottish Government and other public bodies. You can find consultation responses we have submitted be ... Read more

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COST FA1208 meeting 2013 (Event)

The first annual meeting of COST Action FA1208 "Pathogen-informed strategies for sustainable broad-spectrum crop resistance" will be held in Birnam, Scotland from  9-11 October 2013. Delegates will arrive on Tuesday ... Read more

New research into protecting vegetables from disease, naturally (News)

As concerns over pesticides such as neonicotinoids grow, the James Hutton Institute and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) have launched a new research programme looking into activating plants’ natural defences. ... Read more

Plants use underground networks to communicate danger (News)

Plants use underground fungal networks to warn their neighbours of aphid attack, scientists from the University of Aberdeen, the James Hutton Institute and Rothamsted Research have discovered. The study, published in Ecology Lette ... Read more

Spraing disease in potato tubers caused by TRV infection (Research Page)

Tobacco rattle virus (TRV) and spraing production ... Read more

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Farm to fork or there and back again (Event)

Dr Ken Forbes of the University of Aberdeen will give a seminar "Farm to fork or there and back again" focussing on the bacteria Campylobacter at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee. It will be broadcast live to the Abe ... Read more

New threat to Scottish fruit industry (News)

Scottish soft fruit growers must take adequate steps to protect their crops from the spotted wing drosophila, a new threat which could cause losses of up to 80%. That was the message at the Soft Fruit Winter Meeting of the Scottis ... Read more

Human and animal pathogens on plants (Research Page)

The main aim of our research is to understand the basis to the molecular interactions that underpin bacteria-plant interactions. The work focuses on enteric human pathogenic bacteria, which pose a food safety threat to consumers t ... Read more

Exploitation of heterogeneity in crops: Mixtures (Research Page)

So what are mixtures? ... Read more

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Crop Protection in Northern Britain: The Dundee Conference (Event)

The biennial Crop Protection in Northern Britain 2014 conference will be held in Dundee from 25-26 February 2014. Crop Protection in Northern Britain 2014: The Dundee Conference will be the foremost conference concerning environm ... Read more

Potato late blight still a threat to global food security (News)

A pathogen responsible for a plant disease that has caused food shortages and major loss of life in the past, such as the Irish Potato Famine of 1845, still poses a significant threat to global food security. This is underlined in ... Read more

PhD Studentships 2013 opportunities (News)

Opportunities for PhD projects from the James Hutton Institute's annual competitive joint-studentship programme are now being advertised on All these PhD projects are funded jointly between the Institute and par ... Read more

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Professor Peter Young, University of York seminar (Event)

Professor Peter Young, University of York will give a seminar entitled "Rhizobium population genomics and the nature of bacterial species" at the James Hutton Institute. It is becoming apparent that the processes by whi ... Read more

Research on ticks and tick-borne diseases (Research Page)

Ixodes ricinus ticks are the most important vector of disease-causing pathogens in Europe. They have been increasing in Britain in recent decades and are of particular concern because they transmit Borrelia burgdorferi s.l., the a ... Read more

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Dr Ann Hirsch, University of California (Event)

Dr Ann Hirsch of the University of California will give a seminar entitled "Plant Growth-Promoting Burkholderia species: the good, the bad, and the ugly". ... Read more

Molecular ecology of peach-potato aphid (Research Page)

Background and rationale ... Read more

Key projects and outputs (Research Page)

Current projects Transfer of MAP from soil to plant to silage (Quality Meat Scotland, 2013-14) Ecology of Cryptosporidium (Quality Meat Scotland, 2013-14) The capacity and pathogenic potential of bacteria that internalis ... Read more

Core researchers (Research Page)

Dr Lisa M. Avery ... Read more

Platforms, resources and approaches (Research Page)

Pathogens do not automatically pose a risk to human or animal health if there is no pathway by which they can reach that person or animal (the receptor). Therefore, using a Source-Pathway-Receptor approach to address human and ani ... Read more

The Centre (Research Page)

The core research group in the Centre for Human and Animal Pathogens in the Environment (HAP-E) at the James Hutton Institute studies the following pathogen-environment systems. ... Read more

Centre for Human and Animal Pathogens in the Environment (HAP-E) (Research Page)

Key pathogens in the environment interests Environmental survival of pathogens (for example, Clostridia in anaerobic digestate) Pathogen transmission between animals and zoonotic transmission from animal to human Transmi ... Read more

Disease and ecological tolerance in barley (Research Page)

Disease tolerance in a crop species may be defined as the ability of a plant to produce a greater yield than would normally be expected from the observed disease (Newton and Thomas, 1994). It is rarely a priority objective in bree ... Read more

Barley variety mixtures (Research Page)

Mixtures of several current recommended varieties of barley, particularly winter types, can be used to partially control many pathogens, particularly splash-dispersed pathogens such as R. commune, as a control measure in their own ... Read more

Crop protection in barley (Research Page)

Older fungicides have variable efficacy controlling R. commune but some of the new generation active ingredients can be very effective. Nevertheless, it is still a difficult pathogen to control compared with, for example, powdery ... Read more

Epidemiology, crop protection and resistance deployment (Research Page)

Components of sustainable Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Several major genes for resistance have been deployed but all can be overcome by emergence of matching virulence (probably loss of the avirulence gene product), and freq ... Read more

Resistance genetics in barley (Research Page)

The most efficient method of controlling rhynchosporium is for barley crops to express effective and durable resistance to R. commune, whilst maintaining yield and quality. As such, resistance is an important target for breeders. ... Read more

Rhynchosporium on barley (Research Page)

Rhynchosporium commune (formerly known as R. secalis) is one of the most important diseases of barley, particularly in wet seasons and in high humidity areas. The disease is called 'rhynchosporium', 'scald' or ' ... Read more

Marker assisted breeding in raspberry (Research Page)

Genetic based resistance ... Read more

Raspberry root rot and chemical management (Research Page)

Raspberry root rot, caused by Phytophthora fragariae var. rubi, continues to be one of the most serious diseases of raspberry (Harrison et al., 1998). Root rot diseases have always been a problem in North America but were not rega ... Read more

Molecular breeding for raspberry root rot resistance (Research Page)

All traits (characteristics) are controlled by genes and the combination of alleles (versions) of the genes in the plant is known as the genotype. Red raspberry is diploid and therefore can have two alleles of each gene. The genot ... Read more

Raspberry root rot (Research Page)

The UK raspberry industry has come under increasing pressure by consumers to produce high quality fruit using a minimal quantity of chemical pesticides. To remain financially viable, commercial producers must achieve high yields o ... Read more

Rubus breeding (Research Page)

Raspberry breeding at the Institute was established in the 1950s and has produced a range of commercially successful cultivars, from the initial 'Glen Clova' to the latest 'Glen Fyne'. ... Read more

Soft fruit genetics (Research Page)

Soft fruit genetics research at the James Hutton Institute is focused on two key genera: Rubus (raspberries, blackberries and hybrid berries such as `Tayberry’) Ribes (currants and gooseberries). Research within the ... Read more

Selecting for late blight resistance (Research Page)

The strategy for breeding late blight resistant potatoes during the first half of the 20th century was utilisation of the major dominant R-genes which had been discovered in the Mexican wild species Solanum demissum. However, they ... Read more

Disease and resistance in potato (Research Page)

Cultivated potatoes are constantly exposed to various pathogens that, if successful in overcoming the plant’s defences, pose a serious threat to production. Currently, multidisciplinary research at the James Hutton Institute ... Read more

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James Hutton Institute Open Day 2012 (Event)

The first James Hutton Institute Open Day will be held at our Dundee site this summer when we look forward to welcoming visitors of all ages to find out more about our work. There will be a wide range of exhibitions and hands-on ... Read more

Centre for Research on Potato and other Solanaceous plants (Research Page)

A multidisciplinary research group The role of the Centre for Research on Potato and other Solanaceous plants (CRPS) is to promote multidisciplinary research on potato (Solanum tuberosum). The tools and technologies we ... Read more

Overseas projects in virus research (Research Page)

Institute virologists link with China  ... Read more

Potyvirus resistance in Phureja potatoes (Research Page)

The aphid transmitted potyviruses (potato viruses Y, A and V) can spread readily during the growing season since application of insecticides to control vector aphids does not effectively control spread of these viruses (which are ... Read more

PMTV and powdery scab (Research Page)

Potato mop-top disease is caused by potato mop-top virus (PMTV), which is transmitted to potatoes by a soil-borne plasmodiophorid vector, Spongospora subterranea. PMTV is a highly destructive pathogen of potato because it causes s ... Read more

Virus-vector interactions (Research Page)

Current research in this area primarily focuses on the interaction between PMTV and its vector Spongospora subterranea, a soil-borne plasmodiophorid, which is itself the cause of powdery scab. Read more about PMTV and powdery scab ... Read more

Soft fruit virology (Research Page)

Soft fruit virus research at the James Hutton Institute is part of an integrated soft fruit crop programme that includes research for genetics, breeding and pathology. ... Read more

Potato mop-top virus (PMTV) (Research Page)

Potato mop-top virus (PMTV) causes spraing (unsightly brown arcs and rings in tubers of susceptible cultivars) and yellow chevrons or shortened internodes (mopping) in the leaves and stems of plants grown from infected tubers. Eco ... Read more

The involvement of nuclear domains and proteins in plant responses to virus infections (Research Page)

The interactions between a virus and its host cell play a central role in the viral infection cycle. The analysis of virus-host interactions is critical for understanding the mechanisms of viral infections and for the development ... Read more

Host-pathogen interactions (Research Page)

We conduct research in several areas of host-pathogen interactions. ... Read more

Virus research (Research Page)

Viruses are ubiquitous microorganisms which are most often studied as pathogenic (disease-causing) entities. While this is the primary reason for the study of plant viruses in the agricultural environment, recent work has revealed ... Read more

PhD Studentships 2012 opportunities (News)

PhD projects from The James Hutton Institute's annual competitive Joint-Studentship programme are now being advertised on ... Read more

Natural predators and biopesticides help tackle pests (News)

Scientists at The James Hutton Institute are helping find new ways of tackling crop pests and diseases without using conventional pesticides. They are contributing to the SCEPTRE project which aims to address key gaps in crop prot ... Read more

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Recent publications

Sophie Mantelin (Staff Member)

... Read more

DNA testing of New Zealand flatworms (News)

An alien invader which threatens the ecological balance of Scotland’s soils is being DNA profiled by scientists at The James Hutton Institute. Arthurdendyus triangulatus commonly known as the New Zealand flatworm is a predat ... Read more

Information and Computational Sciences (Research Page)

The Information and Computational Sciences (ICS) Group brings together an exceptional combination of scientific skills and expertise. This ranges from genome scale bioinformatics to the modeling of edaphic or climate information o ... Read more

Research Themes (Research Page)

Our research will deliver outcomes through the following Research Themes. ... Read more

Phytophthora infestans research (Research Page)

The James Hutton Institute and the University of Dundee has established itself as a leader in the study of late blight by integrating research, facilities, resources and skills into a coherent team. Our internationally recognised ... Read more

Dundee Effector Consortium (Research Page)

What are effectors? ... Read more

Science Groups (Research Page)

Our research is conducted in the following Science Groups. ... Read more

Cell and Molecular Sciences (Research Page)

Cell and Molecular Sciences (CMS) is based at the Dundee site and comprises more than 100 plant scientists with research specialisms in cell and molecular biology, genomics, genetics, pathology and physiology. Crop improvement ... Read more

Genome of devastating pine wilt nematode sequenced (News)

  Scientists from The James Hutton Institute have helped unravel the genome of a nematode that causes huge damage to the forestry industry and forest ecosystems in East Asia. The sequencing of the genome is the first step in ... Read more

International barley workshop in Dundee (News)

Delegates from 16 countries around the world will be in Dundee next week to attend an international workshop hosted by The James Hutton Institute. ... Read more

Balruddery Research Farm (Page)

Balruddery Research Farm is an 170 ha arable farm located seven miles west of Dundee and between 70 and 124m above sea level on the lower slopes of the Sidlaw Hills. There are 23 fields varying in size from 2.0 ha to 11 ha. The so ... Read more

Jane Shaw Plant Pathologist (Page)

Plants are susceptible to a wide range of pathogens which include viruses. Viruses are obligate intracellular pathogens with small genomes which encode for a limited number of specific proteins. In order to complete their replicat ... Read more

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Recent publications

Lesley Torrance (Staff Member)

Lesley is Leader of the Cell and Molecular Sciences group at the James Hutton Institute and Professor of Biology at the University of St Andrews. She is currently President of the British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP). ... Read more

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Recent publications

Steve Albon (Staff Member)

Steve Albon was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's National Academy of Sciences and Letters, in 2008. He has held an Honorary Chair at the University of Aberdeen since 1997. ... Read more

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Fourth International Workshop on Barley Leaf Blights (Event)

The Fourth International Workshop on Barley Leaf Blights was hosted by The James Hutton Institute. It was held at the West Park Conference Centre, Dundee from 27-29 June 2011. Papers and abstracts You can download a copy of th ... Read more

Publications (Page)

Legal framework PDF file: Memorandum and Articles of Association (5.43 MB) Annual reviews PDF file: James Hutton Institute Annual Review 2014-15 (5.40 MB) ... Read more

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.